Did you know that one of my bras, the Sling Bra, was a total bust? Yup, it was a bit too complicated and, as a result, only a small number of women found it life-changing. It launched in 2019 and within six months, it was clear that it wasn't going to work out. We had to liquidate the inventory and we had purchased a lot!
But you know what? That failure ended up being a blessing in disguise.
It taught me a valuable lesson about the importance of listening and learning from our customers. I no longer go "all in" on the launch of a bra without first getting feedback from at least 100 women, who are complete strangers, (because no one can be honest like a stranger, am I right?). Many of you reading this may have participated in one of my test wear campaigns. The valuable feedback from these test wearers allow me to see things I have overlooked not only in the product but in the true value "real" women find in the garments.
Most of us think that if we fail, it's because we are failures. But that's not true. If you were to name your top three favorite entrepreneurs, chances are all three started with some pretty epic failures and lost a pile of money doing it. Failure is simply a part of the process.
As a woman, I know that we tend to attribute our failures to our intrinsic qualities and lack of ability. It's in the data, too - women are much less likely to receive venture funding, and even less likely to receive it again after their first venture fails. But we need to change that narrative. We need to teach our daughters to fail forward and help our friends and mentees understand the difference between defeat and a hard lesson.
At Simple Wishes, we've had our fair share of failures. But we didn't give up. Today, we can barely make our bras fast enough and we get rave reviews from customers every day. Failure is our friend because it taught us the hard lessons we needed to learn. In fact, that Sling bra failure led to our Undercover styles, which are sustainable nursing garments that can be worn for maternity, breastfeeding, and even beyond, because the nursing clasp hardware can be hidden. How's that for being easy on your budget? They are also uniquely suited to support the increasingly popular in bra wearable breast pumps such as Elvie, Willow, Freemie etc.
So, don't be afraid to fail. Failure is not a reflection of your worth or ability.
Hard work and tenacity are what set successful entrepreneurs apart. Remember, failure is your friend.